Judge Farina has concluded that the 11th Judicial Circuit will have to FIRE 110 court employees to meet the current budgetary cuts!!!
From the Chief Judge's latest email:
On Tuesday, March 18th, we began to evaluate the impact of the proposed budget cuts on the judicial branch's budget and our ability to carry out our responsibilities as required by the State of Florida's Constitution. Quite candidly, as we endeavored to reconcile our obligation to provide justice for all with the inadequate resources provided by the legislature, we reluctantly came to the realization that we would have to take drastic measures in order to maintain some semblance of a court system that is accessible and effective. Towards that end, based upon the dire revenue forecast for the judicial branch generally and the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in particular, in addition to other cost saving measures, we may have to eliminate approximately 110 positions from this Circuit's workforce as of July 1, 2008.
Undoubtedly such extensive loss of personnel, approximately 33% of all state funded employees, will have a profound effect on the manner in which we have customarily provided services to the public, in that we may have to, at a minimum:
Prioritize court operations to ensure that we carry out our constitutional mandates. Thus, reducing, and possibly eliminating those functions that enhanced the quality of our services, but are not constitutionally or statutorily required. Reduce the ratio of support personnel for every judge: judicial assistants, case managers, staff attorneys, court interpreters, circuit court mediators, court reporters, general magistrates and related AOC administrative support. Further reduce, and in some instances, eliminate our expenditures for supplies, (Rumpole notes: there go the cappuccino machines for chambers!!!)publications, and travel. (Rumpole notes: No more travel??? A dozen robed readers just fainted. No more "working" conferences at the Four seasons???? Times are indeed hard.)
Defer furniture purchases and other renovations indefinitely (except for life, safety, and health matters). Reduce technology services.
Indeed, these are challenging times of catastrophic proportions; but the battle for fair and equitable treatment, as the third, co-equal branch of government, is not over. Together we can and must confront the daunting task of preserving our judicial system by doing "Whatever It Takes" in a consolidated, coordinated manner.
(Rumpole notes; Here comes our Chief Judge "taking it to the streets". He's a real 60's type radical!)Therefore, we encourage you to: Contact the Miami-Dade legislative delegation requesting adequate funding for the court system, and impress upon them the impact these reductions will have on citizens' access to the courts and respective services. Attached are the names and addresses of our delegation members. If you personally know local business persons, members of voluntary Bar Associations, members of Chambers of Commerce or other organizational leaders, contact them for their support and commitment to reach our Miami-Dade delegation members on behalf of the courts. Explain to your family and friends how the budgetary cuts in the courts will affect their lives; urge them to contact their legislators.
And by all means, continue to provide high quality, first rate services to the public. (Especially you security screeners.)
Attached are documents that provide a comprehensive profile of the court system and the myriad of services provided. Please use this information to express how these services will be adversely impacted by the proposed cuts. As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please contact either one of us, preferably by telephone. Thank you for your continuing understanding, patience and cooperation during this very difficult period in the history of Florida's justice system.
Joseph P. Farina
Ruben O. Carrerou